In a recent online
casinos article, Nelson Rose specifically talks about online
casinos poker. However, if the bill sitting before the senate
gets approved, online casinos as a whole would be considered
However, there are two exceptions; horse racing and online
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill, HR 4411,
which, if the Senate and President agree, will create the
Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act. If the bill
becomes law, online casinos will be changed forever.
The law would not directly make it a crime to be a mere online
casinos player. And there will always be ways for dedicated
online casinos poker players to get around the barriers that
would be created. But for casual online casinos players,
registering and sending money to a poker website would simply
become too difficult.
For the online casinos sites themselves, the blow would be so
severe that many would be driven out of business.
The bill attacks Internet poker and online casinos in many ways.
The first is expanding the reach of federal anti-gambling
Naturally, there are exemptions. The horse race industry and
state lotteries have enough political power to keep their
cross-border betting alive. So did professional athletes, who
won an exemption for fantasy sports leagues. But dog tracks
Nevada casinos made only a half-hearted attempt, because they do
not have any existing online casinos and only sought,
unsuccessfully, to keep their options open. Indian gaming is in
a similar situation, and won the almost worthless right to
operate games online, so long as players are physically present
on Indian land.
The bill has real teeth. It would make it a felony, punishable
by up to five years in prison, for anyone to operate an illegal
online casinos site or accept money transferred in any form. Of
course, it already is a felony to do sports betting online, and
the bill would not make it any easier for the DOJ to arrest
The real change is in the power that would be given law
enforcement to cut off access to online casinos websites. Any
federal, state, tribal or local agent can ask phone companies to
cut phone lines. This is a carry over from the present Wire Act.
You can't stop the Internet this way.
But you can if you can stop access to domain names. The bill
would allow the DOJ or any state attorney general to get a court
order requiring an Internet Service Provider to block all links
to specified gambling websites.
You can also cripple a gambling business if it becomes too
difficult to get money in and out. Federal regulators would be
required to come up with ways of identifying and blocking all
money transfers for online casinos transactions. This means that
the present barriers to using credit cards would be extended to
all banking transactions. Players would not even be able to
write checks, let alone wire money, to gaming websites.